““Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass, look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.” Job 14:1, 5-6 ESV
Teach us to number our days carefully
so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Psalm 90:12
Through the Bible: Job 14-16
I wrote this on January 7, 2021. My mom passed away on May 25 of that year. But seven months later, on December 7, my first grandson was born. So when I reflect on all this again, now two years in the rear view mirror, Job’s story gets more and more poignant. Despair mixed with devotion. Grieving and gratitude side by side. That’s living, and I’m down for all of it.
One of my favorite things to do in a new year is to begin a new journal. I love the point when the blank pages before me outnumber the filled pages behind me.
But if you asked Job, at this stage of his life, if he was excited about the prospect of a new year stretching before him, the answer would be an unequivocal “no.” Job was done with suffering. Done with pain. If you were to come up to Job with a party hat and a noise maker and saying “Happy New Year,” it would be rubbing salt into wounds that were already raw.
As I write this, my mother is dying. She is 88 years old and in hospice care. There are way more filled journals in her past than there are blank journals in her future. And she’s tired. She’s done with getting her meals through a feeding tube. She is weary of hurting. She has no regrets about her life, and is honestly looking forward to coming into her eternal rest.
And because of that, I am a lot more tender toward Job this time around in my read through the Bible plan. Job doesn’t want to live a second longer than the time God has appointed for him. I don’t want to give anything away from tomorrow’s reading, but Job knows that he has a living Redeemer who will stand with him when his life on earth is done. And he’s ready to see Him. I read Job’s words. I hear the weariness in his voice. And I think of my mom, who is so ready to see her Redeemer.
I’m not there yet. This year marks my 55th year on this planet. My 35th year in ministry. My 29th year as a married man. 24th as a father. I believe there are still new adventures to be had. New lessons to be learned. New insights to be gained. And I pray, Lord, that I will come to the end of this year…
- More at peace with You, yet more broken by You;
- More in love with my wife yet more aware of how fragile and delicate a God-honoring marriage truly is;
- More dedicated to my role as a father, yet more aware of my diminishing impact and years to influence their lives;
- More confident in my leadership at my church, yet more mindful of my utter dependence on You.
Let me journey without arriving, mature without mellowing, stabilize without stagnating, and study without graduating. And let me live this year only for the glory of God.
Father, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.